Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 6

Anton Retief

Anton was a big man, but he knew he was carrying an extra pound or two. He was the good side of 30 and had tidy, dark hair.

He was getting agitated by the endless rain. “It’s getting harder and it’s getting dark,” he said to his wife, Shirley, who was sitting next to him.

They had many kilometres to go before they reached their new home, and they were now driving in a torrential downpour on a slippery, muddy, dirt road. The Austin A40 had been a reliable car.

Until then.

The car slewed first this way, then that.

“Fuck you!” Anton Retief cursed, nearly losing control for the fifth time. His clothes were wet through and his boots were muddy - and that was just because he’d needed to take a piss in that God-awful downpour. He smelt soggy, too, which overpowered the Brut anti-perspirant he applied twice a day. He always kept a spare can in his drawer.

Shirley looked on. “Shame, you poor man.”

Anton took this the wrong way and shot a piercing glare at her, taking his eyes off the misty, grubby windscreen. He spun around a complete 360 degrees.

Anton decided to stop, rest and gather his thoughts. He looked at Shirley. She was wrapped up in a thick turtle-neck sweater. She gave off an unmistakeable, pleasant smell of Chanel No. 5, which she’d applied the day before. He knew that because it had cost him a bloody fortune to buy it as her 25th birthday present. He’d begun to regret buying it, because she was besotted with the perfume and had worn it nearly every day since her birthday, which had been the previous week.

After a few minutes, Anton had gathered his thoughts and controlled his rage, so he pressed on through the wet weather and safely made their way to their new home. Meanwhile, the downpour continued, unrelenting.

“Come on, leave the rest of the cases. I’ll get them when it’s stopped pouring,” Anton said.

They put the key in the door and turned it. By this time, it was dark and they hadn’t allowed for the time-demanding drive. But, there was another problem: The lights had tripped. Try as he might, the lights weren’t coming on.

They fetched some food from the Austin and had a cold meal.

Early the next morning, Anton woke first. He looked around and couldn’t believe it: The walls were brown. The colour was a shitty brown. He got out of bed and went to the passage. Those wall were brown, too.

He woke up Shirley. “Look at these walls... ”

She was startled. “Oh shit!”

“My thoughts exactly. We’ll need to paint them a different colour.”

“Oh, fuck!” she exclaimed.

“That’s the first time that you’ve used that word.” And with that, they started to make love. But Anton’s mind was elsewhere. He was thinking about the job he was due to start the next week. He couldn’t shake his thoughts about the sexy secretary he’d be sharing with a fellow senior employee. He closed his eyes and fantasised about her. What was her name? Mati. He felt his orgasm coming.

The following Monday, he walked into the Scallyclare offices, having secured the job as the new shift boss a month earlier. He exuded an air that was overly cocky and sure of himself.

In this new job, Anton was in a senior position. Dressed in a two-piece suit, he was a know-it-all. His big build meant that he was not inclined to take trouble with anyone.

He made himself at home in the office, just past where the seductive Miss Paterson, his secretary, would be sitting. He was an early starter and had arrived at 6.45am. Miss Paterson wouldn’t arrive until 10 minutes before the start of business at 7.30am.

Miss Paterson - Matilda or Mati, for short - was a spunky brunette. She wore her dark hair in a sexy bob cut and tight twin sets and stilettos. He allowed himself the liberty of imagining what she would wear that day. He imagined the light shining behind her, illuminating the shape of her figure. When she passed him in the passage, he hoped that he would get a whiff of the slightly slutty perfume she had worn in their first meeting.

Mati sauntered in the door at 7.20am on the dot.

“Good morning, Mister Retief,” she pronounced with an erotic lilt. “Welcome to your first day of work.”

“Good morning, Miss Mati. How are you, this beautiful summer’s day?”

She giggled. “I’m fine, thank you.”

Anton ignored Mati’s solacious tone and turned and wrestled with the worksheets spread out in front of him.

His mind turned to Shirley, his wife. She was ready to bear children, but the cause of the problem was undetermined: She could be infertile or Anton could be the responsible party. They’d tried for a few months, with no results. A few months had gone by and they made love regularly.

One morning he imagined that her bulge had started to show. He had felt Shirley’s stomach and had detected a faint kicking in her belly. Anton was a happy man. I’ve done it! He congratulated himself.

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